Cho­rus for peacee

Chi­nese chil­dren per­form m in both Is­rael and Pales­tine

China Daily (USA) - - 1 - Con­tact the writer at chen­nan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Ode to Joy, a poem writ­ten in 1785 by Ger­man poet Friedrich Schiller and best known for its use in the fi­nal move­ment of Sym­phony No 9 by Beethoven in 1824, cel­e­brates the chang­ing of an­guish into joy and con­flict into har­mony.

In­spired by the piece and with the hope of pro­mot­ing world peace, a Chi­nese song, Ode to Peace, was re­leased by the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s As­so­ci­a­tion for Friend­ship with For­eign Coun­tries. It’s stag­ing a world tour, which kicked off from Is­rael and Pales­tine in Septem­ber.

Twenty-six child singers from the Chil­dren and Young Women’s Cho­rus of the China Na­tional Sym­phony Or­ches­tra, rang­ing in age from 11 to 16, per­formed the song at Tel Aviv Univer­sity in Is­rael and at the Pales­tine Red Crescent So­ci­ety The­ater, be­tween Sept 25 and 29, along with other Chi­nese folk songs, in­clud­ing Dance of Youth and Jas­mine Flower.

“Mu­sic is a unique, uni­ver­sal lan­guage that can help peo­ple from dif­fer­ent na­tions, races and cul­tures to un­der­stand and re­spect one an­other,” says Li Xiaolin, pres­i­dent of CPAFFC, who ini­ti­ated the project. “We be­lieve that the tour will help en­hance mu­tual un­der­stand­ing and friend­ship among dif­fer­ent na­tions.”

She adds that the world tour will con­tinue un­til next year.

The as­so­ci­a­tion also plans to take the show to the United Na­tions.

The idea of the song took root years ago as an im­por­tant project for CPAFFC.

Li says since China is a vi­tal part of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, the project will help im­prove re­la­tions be­tween China and the rest of the world.

Ode to Peace was first per­formed in Bei­jing on Nov 11, 2015, mark­ing the 70th an­niver­sary of China’s vic­tory in the War of Re­sis­tance Against Ja­panese Ag­gres­sion (1937-45).

The lyrics, writ­ten by Li, ad­dress sim­ple and direct mes­sages about peace and har­mony. Renowned Chi­nese mu­si­cians Zhao Jip­ing and Zhao Lin com­posed the mu­sic.

Ac­cord­ing to Li Xinyu, di­rec­tor of the re­search cen­ter for peo­ple-to-peo­ple diplo­macy at CPAFFC, the con­flict be­tween Is­rael and Pales­tine makes the launch of the tour in that re­gion spe­cial and mean­ing­ful.

The cho­rus, the brain­child of renowned Chi­nese con­duc­tor Yang Hong­nian, has given over 1,000 per­for­mances in China and abroad since it was founded in 1983. Nearly 5,000 chil­dren who love to sing have been trained by the cho­rus.

Yang, 82, who con­ducts the cho­rus, says: “The five-day tour en­abled us to get close to Is­rael and Pales­tine, which are mys­te­ri­ous and sa­cred places.

“But what im­pressed me most was the com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the young stu­dents. They live in dif­fer­ent cul­tures but share the same love for mu­sic,” he says, re­fer­ring to the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the Chi­nese and Is­raeli stu­dents in Jerusalem.

When the cho­rus vis­ited the Jerusalem Academy of Mu­sic and Dance, the Ankor Choir of Jerusalem Con­ser­va­tory, which was also founded in 1983 and in­cludes 45 fe­male stu­dents, per­formed Ode to Peace with the Chi­nese cho­rus un­der Yang’s ba­ton.

Com­ment­ing on the tour, the Chi­nese am­bas­sador to Is­rael, Zhan Yongxin, says: “Mu­sic goes be­yond re­li­gions and lan­guages to help peo­ple un­der­stand each other. With the per­for­mance of the Chi­nese stu­dents, we hope the seed of peace will be planted among the younger gen­er­a­tions.”

Ma Conglin, 12, a mem­ber of the cho­rus from Bei­jing’s No 8Mid­dle School, says the tour is a mem­ory that he will cher­ish for the rest of his life.

“When we per­formed the song, Ode to Peace, and opened a silk scarf with dove of peace on it, the au­di­ences stood up and gave us a long ova­tion. I was very ex­cited. That’s the power of mu­sic, which brings peo­ple to­gether,” says Ma.

He also says he was happy to have the chance to com­mu­ni­cate with young peo­ple of his age in Is­rael and Pales­tine.

“I talked with some Is­raeli stu­dents in sim­ple English and they showed me their cam­pus,” he adds.

Adding his voice of sup­port for the tour of Pales­tine, Chen Xingzhong, the Chi­nese am­bas­sador to Pales­tine, says: “We hope the friend­ship and com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween China and Pales­tine will con­tinue, es­pe­cially among the young gen­er­a­tion.”

Tayeb Ab­del-Rahim, the sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the Pales­tinian pres­i­dency, says such per­for­mances can help push for­ward the peace process and boost cul­tural ex­changes as part of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

Mu­sic goes be­yond re­li­gions and lan­guages to help peo­ple un­der­stand each other.” Zhan Yongxin, Chi­nese am­bas­sador to Is­rael

PHOTOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Singers from the Chil­dren and Young Women’s Cho­rus of the China Na­tional Sym­phony Or­ches­tra per­form dur­ing their trip to Is­rael and Pales­tine in Septem­ber.

Young per­form­ers and project mem­bers in Is­rael dur­ing their world tour.

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